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The Skill Premium, Technological Change and Appropriability

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  • Nahuis, Richard
  • Smulders, Sjak

Abstract

This paper demonstrates that an increase in the relative supply of educated workers generates a structural change in the production structure towards a knowledge-intensive production process. This structural shift may ultimately lead to an increase in the return to educated labor despite the increase in their supply. The paper argues that the steady increase in the supply of educated workers that most Western economies have experienced in recent decades may be viewed as the driving force behind the observed pattern of wage inequality. In particular, the paper demonstrates that if firms can appropriate a sufficient share of the intertemporal return from knowledge generating activities of their labor force, a gradual increase in the supply of skilled workers would generate only a temporary reduction in the skill premium followed by a permanent increase in the return to skill. Copyright 2002 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Economic Growth.

Volume (Year): 7 (2002)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 137-56

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Handle: RePEc:kap:jecgro:v:7:y:2002:i:2:p:137-56

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  1. Daron Acemoglu, 2000. "Technical Change, Inequality, and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 7800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Galor, O. & Tsiddon, D., 1996. "Technological Progress, Mobility and Economic Growth," Papers 13-96, Tel Aviv.
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  4. Berman, Eli & Bound, John & Griliches, Zvi, 1994. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U.S. Manufacturing: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufactures," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(2), pages 367-97, May.
  5. Adam B. Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg & Rebecca Henderson, 1992. "Geographic Localization of Knowledge Spillovers as Evidenced by Patent Citations," NBER Working Papers 3993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Peretto, Pietro F., 1996. "Technological Change and Population Growth," Working Papers 96-28, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  7. Peretto, Pietro F., 1999. "Cost reduction, entry, and the interdependence of market structure and economic growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 173-195, February.
  8. Dosi, Giovanni, 1988. "Sources, Procedures, and Microeconomic Effects of Innovation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(3), pages 1120-71, September.
  9. Jaffe, Adam B., 2000. "The U.S. patent system in transition: policy innovation and the innovation process," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(4-5), pages 531-557, April.
  10. Paul Romer, 1989. "Endogenous Technological Change," NBER Working Papers 3210, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Bartel, Ann P & Lichtenberg, Frank R, 1987. "The Comparative Advantage of Educated Workers in Implementing New Technology," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(1), pages 1-11, February.
  12. Acemoglu, D., 1997. "Why Do New Technologies Complement Skills? Directed Technical Change and Wage Inequality," Working papers 97-14, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  13. Michael T. Kiley, 1997. "The supply of skilled labor and skill-based technological progress," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1997-45, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  14. Wesley M. Cohen & Richard R. Nelson & John P. Walsh, 2000. "Protecting Their Intellectual Assets: Appropriability Conditions and Why U.S. Manufacturing Firms Patent (or Not)," NBER Working Papers 7552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Smulders, Sjak & van de Klundert, Theo, 1995. "Imperfect competition, concentration and growth with firm-specific R & D," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 139-160, January.
  16. Keely, Louise & Quah, Danny, 1998. "Technology in Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1901, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Thompson, Peter & Waldo, Doug, 1994. "Growth and trustified capitalism," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 445-462, December.
  18. Gould, Eric D & Moav, Omer & Weinberg, Bruce A, 2001. " Precautionary Demand for Education, Inequality, and Technological Progress," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 285-315, December.
  19. Huw Lloyd-Ellis, 1999. "Endogenous Technological Change and Wage Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 47-77, March.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Volker Grossmann, 2005. "White-collar employment, inequality, and technological change," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 119-142, December.
  2. Keiichi Kishi, 2013. "Dynamic analysis of wage inequality and creative destruction," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 13-20, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).
  3. Smulders, J.A. & Nooij, M. de, 2003. "The impact of energy conservation on technology and economic growth," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-123121, Tilburg University.
  4. Richard Nahuis & Henri de Groot, 2003. "Rising skill premia; you ain't seen nothing yet?," CPB Discussion Paper 20, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  5. Lei Ji, 2013. "Rethinking directed technical change with endogenous market structure," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2013-18, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).

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